More J Street B(D)S

Some people are still clinging to the remaining shreds of J Street's pro-Israel raiments. Time to let go. Even when that faux pro-Israel organization takes action seemingly supportive of Israel -- such as opposing divestment from Israel -- it does so for reasons that have nothing to do with being pro-Israel.  

But first, let's recap the undressing and dressing down of the J Street cloak. In less than two weeks, it was revealed that various J Street mouthpieces lied when they repeatedly represented that the hateful anti-Israel billionaire George Soros hadn't given them any loot, lied when they said they did not participate in arranging the visits of the Israel-defamer (and South African Apartheid jurist) Richard Goldstone to members of the U.S. Congress in order to convince them that he -- he! not Israel -- was being unfairly cast as the bad guy, and they lied when they denied that a left-wing Israeli former Knesset member said she parted ways with them because even she couldn't tolerate their courting of Goldstone. To cap it off, they lied when they called the reporter a liar when he revealed their Goldstone connection lie. And that's only the lies. How about their claim that most of J Street's money comes from "American Jewish philanthropists and political activists" when we now know that for an entire year of this newly-hatched organization, a non-Jewish, non-American woman from Hong Kong wired the money that constituted about half of J Street's funding?  

In those same two weeks, Jeremy Ben-Ami was finally revealed to all as a flawed alchemist. For so long, he had convinced so many people that the word "pro-Israel" fit anti-Israel positions, but now many of those folks are no longer buying his distorted incantations. In keeping with his prestidigious pattern, his "apology" revealed little truth hidden behind accusatory distractions.

But let's take a close look at the single positive point about J Street raised in the articles by those who admit being disappointed by J Street's lies but believe there's still life in them thar liars.  

Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for federations and Jewish Community Relations Councils, criticized J Street's lack of candor but said that he and some of his constituent agencies have praised the organization because J Street was "very helpful" as a "credible left-wing pro-Israel organization" that opposed divestment efforts on campuses.

Encouraging universities, firms, and organizations to divest their holdings from companies doing business with Israel is one of the forms of virtual terrorism engaged in by the anti-Israel crowd who find actual terrorism too inconvenient or too messy. Boycotting Israel by calling on consumers to stop buying Israeli products, and urging official sanctions against Israeli officials for activities similarly engaged in by representatives of other countries who are never penalized, are the other two arms of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

According to Gutow, J Street was on record as opposing BDS on campuses. But why doesn't J Street favor divestment from Israel? Is it because an economically strong Israel is a healthy and safe Israel? Nope. Is it because an economic intifada is a danger to Israel's existence? Nope. Is it maybe even that Israel isn't so bad that it deserves BDS? Nope again.

J Street U (the campus arm of J Street) gave students two reasons for its disapproval of divestment from Israel: one, because it only gives credence to Jewish "paranoia" that it is being attacked (as if it is really not), and two, because doing so will harm the Palestinian economy. The J Street U national board sent an e-mail to its student leadership explaining why divestment is not an effective tool: "To Jewish Israelis, divestment only reinforces the notion that they are constantly under attack," and also, divestment will harm the Palestinian economy because "the Israeli and Palestinian economies [are] deeply intertwined."

Savor this: J Street (the "pro-Israel" organization) leadership told its student leaders that harming the Jewish Israeli economy (whatever that is) is okay, and besides, Israel isn't "really" being attacked at all. J Street is interested only in countering the harm caused by the BDS movement to those with whom they are in solidarity -- the Arab Palestinians. The BDSers are wrong, according to J Street U, because although they are trying to punish Israel, instead they end up harming J Street's favorite victims.

Isn't it finally time for everyone to admit that the fabric of J Street's pro-Israel claim is simply a fabrication?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus is president of Z STREET.
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